Head-on auto accidents on the rise

Car accidents happen every day on the road for any number of reasons. Distracted or otherwise impaired driving, mechanical failures, or unsafe road conditions are all deadly contributing factors. Unfortunately, the past eight weeks have highlighted a recent disturbing trend in California auto accidents: head-on collisions.

Head-on auto accidents by themselves are not uncommon on the roads. We’ve heard and seen them at intersections and even on suburban streets. However, numerous head-on accidents in July and August have occurred on freeways. Drivers have taken the wrong ramp onto a freeway, driving into opposing traffic for miles before, seemingly inevitably, they collide with an unlucky victim.

A sampling of deadly head-on auto accidents

July 16 – Highway 49 claimed one life in a head-on accident when a minivan traveling north crossed into the southbound lanes without warning. The minivan crashed into a smaller sedan, killing the driver. The minivan’s driver suffered major injuries, but survived.

July 27 – Three die in Ventura, California as the driver of a Toyota Scion enters Highway 101’s southbound lanes. Driving northbound at speeds nearing 100 miles per hour, the Toyota driver collides head-on with a Nissan Versa. The driver of the Toyota, and both the driver and passenger of the Nissan, are pronounced dead on the scene by emergency personnel.

August 13 – Three vehicles involved in a head-on collision on Highway 88 near Stockton left one driver dead, and 5 more people injured. The driver of a Nissan Altima traveling westbound unexpectedly crossed over to the eastbound lane, crashing into a GMC Sierra truck. The truck was then rear-ended by by a Ford Taurus following close behind.

August 17 – A head-on collision in Granite Bay, California killed an 88-year-old woman and injured two others. A Toyota crossed over the double-yellow dividing lanes while taking a right-hand curve at 45 miles-per-hour, crashing into a Lexus.

August 26 – The head-on auto accidents continued to spike into late August, with a collision in San Luis Obispo city that closed down an intersection for hours. Heavy rescue vehicles reported to the scene to help extract victims from the wreckage.

August 27 – Two people were killed early Sunday morning on the southbound 241 toll road, after the driver of a black Mercedes drove north on the southbound fast lane and crashed into an oncoming Toyota Prius. The Mercedes spun across all southbound lanes after impact before bursting into flames. The driver of the Mercedes miraculously survived, the Toyota driver and passenger were dead on the scene.

Why are these types of auto accidents happening so often?

A combination of factors has lead to more of these accidents. Distracted and impaired driving has always been a danger, which has lead to drunk drivers causing fatal accidents.

Many of the accidents reported above involve roads with no center divide walls between opposing lanes. A combination of speed, or a momentary distraction could allow even an otherwise-alert driver to drift into opposing traffic.

Sadly, the best and only real defense against head-on collisions is to remain alert and focused on your driving. Auto accidents can occur within seconds. With cars approaching head-on, you have even less time to recognize the danger and respond accordingly. Even with modern safety equipment, head-on collisions are some of the most violent accidents on the road. Survivors often face weeks and months in recovery time.


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